Aquaculture for all

Ministers Meet Over Aquaculture and Economy

Economics Politics +2 more

CANADA - The Atlantic Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (ACFAM), met earlier today to discuss economic and market access challenges.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Honourable Rick Doucet, New Brunswick Minister of Fisheries, the Honourable Ron Ouellette, New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture and Aquaculture and the Honourable Gail Shea, federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

"I was pleased to meet with my provincial and territorial colleagues, and I look forward to continued work with them to address the serious challenges facing our fisheries," said Minister Shea. "Our government is making strategic investments, including through our Economic Action Plan, to support the fisheries and aquaculture sectors through the global economic crisis."

"The global economic downturn is having a major impact on sales of seafood"
Honourable Rick Doucet, New Brunswick Minister of Fisheries

Ministers received a report from ACFAM's Marketing Working Group, which has brought together fisheries management and government marketing experts to explore opportunities for strategic marketing of seafood products. Ministers agreed to the group's recommendation to implement a new "Canada East Network" to enhance coordination, planning and communication, combine efforts on market intelligence, and further explore new markets. Ministers thanked Quebec for its leadership on this initiative.

Ministers discussed increased requirements for seafood producers to demonstrate that their products are safe, sustainable and legally harvested. Canada is well positioned in this regard, and Ministers agreed to continue work with participants along the seafood value chain to ensure that Canada continues to respond to market requirements for traceability and certification.

They also discussed the challenges being faced by industry participants and agreed that governments will continue working together with industry to identify ways to help them through the difficult financial times. The lobster fishery was one of the sectors that received particular attention during the day's deliberations.

"The global economic downturn is having a major impact on sales of seafood, particularly products considered as luxury," said Minister Doucet. "Provincial governments and the industry as well as federal government must work closely together to come up with practical measures to redefine this industry."

Ministers reiterated their strong support for aquaculture and noted that the industry has further potential to expand and provide significant economic benefits to coastal communities.

"Aquaculture is an important sector to New Brunswick and has been identified as one of the areas that contribute to our government's self sufficiency agenda," said Minister Ouellette. "Discussions today re-inforced the commitment of both levels of government to work together in fostering sustainable growth of aquaculture."

Finally, Ministers received an update on Canada's actions to date, particularly in Europe, to dispel myths and promote the truth about the seal hunt. Ministers reaffirmed that Canada's seal hunt is humanely conducted, based on sound scientific and veterinary advice, well regulated and closely monitored. Ministers noted that the Canadian seal hunt remains essential to the livelihood of numerous harvesters in small coastal communities.

The ACFAM is made up of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers from the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec, Nunavut and the federal government. The next ACFAM meeting will take place in Prince Edward Island in September 2009.